I try as much as I can through my social media platforms to be a role model for the youth who look up to me, whether my students, trainees or mentees. But what I care about, and it’s more important to me, is to be authentic to myself.
In my journey, I realize day after day how much hate and “méchanceté gratuite” or « gratuitous malice” people can show you, for no reason. The chances that you will be attacked are always higher than being supported. I am impressed how hard it is to stay positive in all this negativity.
You know nothing about success.
One of the most ridiculous comments I’ve received is « you know nothing about success to talk about it ». For this special comment, I just ignored the person. You know why? because it only shows envy. If it was ignorance, I would always choose to educate the person.
Personal success is always relative. It Is not like a company or a project success. I don’t define success as how much money you make, what kind of cars you own, or houses you own. It is what level of personal satisfaction and gratitude you can rely on.
Not to brag about myself, I believe I am still a work in progress, as I always look forward to learning more, develop new skills and discover new fields. Yet, I am very proud of who I am and what I have done so far. I don’t need to talk about it, my success record shows how many people’s lives I’ve touched positively and made a difference on. I worked hard to achieve this and It only gives me big laughs when someone tries ignoring this and pointing out that I am just a beautiful woman or a silly public figure, a lucky girl enjoying living abroad.
The most important reason why I refuse to go low when responding to this kind of comments is that I believe the definition of success varies from one person to another, and any answer can send the wrong message. We are all different and have different capabilities and goals in life, and that’s okay. Actually, it is the beauty of diversity if we can be tolerant toward each other.
I look at my mom, a used to be successful designer, who gave up her career to raise me and my sisters, and I see a very inspiring woman. My family wouldn’t be the family we are today without her sacrifice. Did I do the same? no. Are we both successful? absolutely yes.
I also look to many friends who tried different paths, far away from people’s expectations for them, away from what they own and can afford. I know they’re truly happy and that’s what matters. Do I consider them successful? absolutely yes.
So, I don’t get how someone can decide whether I am successful or not, without really investing time in getting to know me.
Share your personal life.
Some of the most common questions are, are you even married? and do you have kids? As a woman, this is always the number one weapon to intimidate you. I refuse to share my personal life just to show that all bullets in the list of how society expects success for a woman are checked.
Another reason why I don’t answer is that I know that many women that I inspire to be where I stand today, first look at my journey steps and try to copy them. Some think going to the same school or starting from that field or getting married at that age rather than earlier, having or not having kids define my success. I do not buy into these thoughts.
Because I have a lot of respect for people, I believe everyone is original. What I’ve done in my life has taken me to where I am today, and I don’t think it would have worked for someone else. Even when we have a lot in common or aim for the same things we are still different and original.
I hope that people, especially women who follow me, get inspired by the way I stand up for myself. I work hard to reach my goals and enjoy the simple things in my life. But I don’t want them to postpone their marriage to their high school sweetheart or have kids earlier or later, and in any way, make the same choices I made just because they think that’s the success recipe.
I am not proud of a lot of things I have done and yet I have no regrets. I used to be foolish before I became wiser. I did not have the resources and mentorship that youths have nowadays. I’ve sometimes misinformed myself and took things for granted. That’s how I learned. I am definitely a better person today and will be much better tomorrow.
Why am I still here?
My hope is that by educating, mentoring and being open to sharing my story with others, I can make a difference and thus help them have a more pleasant and simpler life.